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DJs Story - Anti Bullying Advocates

David’s Story

David was a vibrant boy, had friends and was socially engaging.  He would participate in class, raised his hand often and look forward to going to school.  Around the 6th grade, a female bully started mocking him when he would answer the questions in class, whether they were wrong or right.  David reported to his main teacher, which put a pause of the verbal bullying, but it continued in other classes that he and this female bully had in common.  The taunting and mocking soon infected other areas of the school, like the cafeteria and the hallways.  The verbal bullying intensified into physical bullying, where pencils and erasers were being thrown at David, as well as attempting to trip him constantly.  This continued into the 7th grade as well. The verbal and physical abuse didn’t end there.  The female bully intensified her tactics even more: getting others to bully David in the same fashion and began threatening him if he told school personnel (“snitches get stitches!”).  Regardless, David had the courage to tell administrators and teachers what was happening.  But that didn’t seem to stop the bullying.  In fact, when the bullies got in trouble, since the bullying behavior wasn’t really addressed, it made things worse for David.   

By 8th grade, the bullies would assault David with rulers, pushing in the hallway, and the like.  At some point these threats, physical attacks, and verbal mockery came to a head when the original bully attacked David.  This time David had built up the courage, along with his martial arts training, to defend himself.  Although David was defending himself and the female bully was clearly the aggressor, despite documentation of past bullying behavior, David and the bully were suspended as if there was an equivalency or conflict, instead of a domineering aggression from the bully that culminated in the target, David, retaliating or defending himself.  Since this was not investigated properly and according to anti-bullying state laws, the bullying dynamic did not end with the suspensions but invaded other areas of life.  The bully began cyberbullying David, playing the victim while threatening to get back at David for defending himself.  The bullying dynamic now went from being a school-centered issue to something that David could have no cover from even outside of the school.  Other people that weren’t there were talking about it and accusing David of being aggressive.  Now other boys and girls were threatening to “beat up” David, inside or outside school.  Homophobic slurs were constantly being launched towards David.  It was not safe for David to go back to school given the number of threats he received.   

School officials were notified, even the Principal and the Superintendent were made aware of the bullying activity and given the multiple threats and how unsafe it was for David to attend school.  The school could not protect him, nor were they willing to acknowledge a bullying dynamic snowballing out of control.  David’s parents were forced to pull him from the school for fear of his life.  Unfortunately, this isolated David even further and perpetuated the bullying dynamic’s intended purpose on its target: dominance, control and ostracization.  Both David and his parents were left with no favorable options for him to complete his education.  Either he stayed home doing on-line independent studies, away from the vital socialization and enriching educational environment he deserved but safe from bullying or go back to the school with the great potential for the bullying dynamic to intensify and risk physical and psychological injury.  David’s parents chose to keep him home and safe but it became clear this isolation was debilitating as well.  Ironically, after a few months, David was begging to go back to the school where his tormentors had the potential to re-injury him, just for the opportunity to socialize, interact with his peers and others, feel like a somewhat “normal” kid again.   

By this point, David and his parents were clearly in a no-win situation.  They had contacted the Anti-Bullying Advocates and documenting and reporting the incidences properly became routine, which started to grab the attention of the administration.  Other options, such as another school district or a safety plan that would actually benefit David instead of further isolating him were being explored.  Explanations for his changes in his behavior became clear too, as they were linked to the bullying dynamic.  Attempts were made to get David school credits for the online courses he was taking and stop the slipping of grades and time spent with online courses that did not matriculate or have any value.  Having never dealt with a situation like the above before, David’s parents were beginning to see that this dynamic was all too common throughout schools in the state and that they were not alone.  They initiated litigation, testified to the failure of process and policy, and began therapy for their son in hopes of recovery and validation for what he has been through.  David’s case is still ongoing, while his healing is a work in progress.  The fight continues to get David justice and fair compensation with the help of Anti-Bullying Advocates.

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